The Academy Library is home to approximately 10,000 cookbooks, menus, and culinary pamphlets. Highlights include printed cookbooks published as early as the 16th century, including milestone works by Scappi, Platina, Carême, and many others. Our holdings also include 37 manuscript recipe books, including the oldest cookbook in the west, the Roman Apicius De re culinaria. Our cookbook collections provide detailed information about everyday life and mealtime, across time and space.

Contribute to Cookery

An adoption of our Cookery collection ensures the care of and access to these materials. Theme collection adoptions are available for multiple adoptions. When you contribute towards the preservation of this collection, you join a family of adopters supporting cookery and the universal human relationship with food. Some of our cookbooks are showcased below:

A Collection of Choise Receipts. 1680.

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One of our favorite manuscripts, A Collection of Choise Receipts, dates to 1680, and is written in English in a beautiful and clear hand.  This remarkable manuscript contains two parts with a mix of culinary, medicinal, and household recipes. Thus, at the beginning of the manuscript, one can find instructions for making a plaster, directions for cleaning brass locks, and a recipe for cherry water.  Indexes for both parts of the manuscript make many different recipes for cures—or meals—easily accessible. 

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/34LYtUn

Jean Gemel. Autograph manuscript signed. ca 1660-1700.

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The author and keeper of these recipes valued her little book enough to inscribe a curse, addressed to anyone who might steal it. The curse reads, "Jean Gemel her book I wish she may be drouned yt steals it from her." The manuscript, ca. 1660-1700, is in a single hand and gives the impression of having been compiled in a short time span, possibly from the author's mother’s recipe book as well as from loose recipes she had picked up during her own lifetime. The recipes recorded here are a mix of culinary, medicinal, and household recipes.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/2DIrBA0

Bartolomeo Scappi. Opera. 1596.

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Renaissance chef Scappi (ca. 1500-1577) cooked for six popes and was chef at the Vatican while Michelangelo was completing the Sistine Chapel. Our book, a 1596 edition of his famous cookbook first published in Venice in 1570, contains more than 1,000 recipes, including instructions for preparing frog’s legs, pastas, and marinades. Perhaps most loved are the book’s astonishing woodcut illustrations, showing the kitchens, implements, and culinary tools employed by the culinary staff at a high-end Italian household.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/2YhbSl8

Holiday Recipes

We offer some winter holiday recipes from our cookery collection.

Amelia Simmons. American Cookery, or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, & Vegetables. 1804.

New Year's Cake Recipe

American Cookery is the first cookbook known to be written by an American. It uses ingredients and terms that would specifically be familiar to American cooks; prior to this publication, people used British cookbooks. The first edition was published in 1796, and it was so popular that it was printed and reprinted for 30 years afterward. Notable in this book are the first printed recipes for johnnycakes (using cornmeal as opposed to British oats), pumpkin pie, and turkey with cranberries. Not much is known about the author, Amelia Simmons, who is noted as an “American Orphan” on the book’s title page.

Our featured holiday recipe from this book is for New Year’s Cake.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/2DoPr3L

Robert Roberts. The House Servant's Directory, or, A Monitor for Private Families. 1828.

To Make a Beautiful Flavoured Punch

The House Servant’s Directory, first published in 1827, was the first commercially published book written by an African-American in the United States. Robert Roberts (1780–1860) was employed in the households of several prominent Massachusetts political figures, including senator and governor Christopher Gore. The book is both an etiquette manual for servants, instructing them on many facets of their work, such as how to set tables and dress suitably, and a book of receipts, including dyeing hair, taking stains out of clothes, and refining cider.

Our featured holiday recipe from this book is for Beautiful Flavoured Punch.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/2Or6DMg

May Henry and Edith B. Cohen. The Economical Jewish Cook: A Modern Orthodox Recipe Book for Young Housekeepers. 1897.

Hanucah Cakes

First published in 1888, The Economical Jewish Cook was intended for young housekeepers and cookery classes that needed to keep kosher. Indeed, before the recipes begin, there is a chapter on koshering (that is, certain preparations to make food fit for consumption) meat. Our edition is the third, published in 1897, with significant revisions and additions. Recipes include ways of making food and of transforming already-cooked food into other dishes, as well as sections on Passover meals and cookery for sick or injured people. An appendix gives advice on forming cookery classes.

Our featured holiday recipe from this book is for Hanucah Cakes.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/2L1iUoF

Nancy Best. Tablegrams from Nancy Best. 1932–1934.

Christmas Pudding Once Forbidden from Tablegrams, and Recipe for Holiday Pudding

This collection of monthly “newspapers” from the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco), entitled Tablegrams, included a short introduction from Nancy Best (likely a pseudonym, with the same initials as National Biscuit), charming illustrations, seasonally appropriate tips and tricks, recipes (many of which employ Uneeda biscuits or graham crackers), amusing anecdotes, poems, and more. For our holiday collection, we’ve focused on the December 1933 issue, which includes such articles as “Home-Made Gadgets for Christmas Tables,” “Let’s Make Christmas Merry for Santa Claus!”, “Social Life of the Cauliflower,” and “What to Serve After Too Much Christmas.”

Our featured holiday recipe from this material is for Holiday Pudding.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/37IMUiC

Woman’s World Magazine Co., Inc. The Candy Calendar: Being a Collection of 150 Pure Candy Recipes for Home Cooking Arranged by Months. 1927.

St. Nicholas Candy from Candy Calendar

The Candy Calendar was one of several publications from Woman’s World Magazine’s Cookery Library, issued month by month, that included advice for cooking and baking along with many recipes. This book includes 203 recipes, not 150, tested by Lillian Dynevor Rice, an author of poems, songs, and magazine articles as well as a magazine editor. The recipes are intended to be economical and useful both for the home cook as well as the candy entrepreneur. 

Our featured holiday recipe from this book is for St. Nicholas Candy.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/35CFvj6

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. A & P Menus: Prepared and Proven in the A & P Kitchen. 1933–1935.

A & P Christmas dinner menu and recipes for roasted goose and apple stuffing

This collection of weekly menus from the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company includes menu ideas for four people as well as complementary recipes and advertisements; some weeks have a theme and some just list different recipes the consumer might find appealing. We’re featuring the menu for the week of December 18, 1933, in which the Company boasts that it has been “catering to Christmas appetites” since 1859, and which has a special Christmas dinner theme. 

Our featured holiday recipes from this material are for Roast Goose and Apple Stuffing.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Catalog Record: http://bit.ly/2qFcVyV

Other cookbooks from our collections include:

Hannah Wooley. The Accomplish'd lady's delight in preserving, physick, beautifying, and cookery. 1675.

Mary Randolph. The Virginia housewife, or, Methodical cook. 1838.

Henriette Davidis. Praktisches kochbuch für die Deutschen in Amerika. 1897.

François Massialot. Le cuisinier royal et bourgeois. 1693.

Jules Gouffé. Le livre de cuisine : comprenant la cuisine de ménage et la grande cuisine. 1874.

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